NZ Rugby CEO offers no guarantees over Foster's long-term future
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson has offered no guarantees over All Blacks head coach Ian Foster's long-term future, stating "he’s certainly the person to lead the team to South Africa".
Foster came under increasing pressure after Ireland secured a first Test series win over the All Blacks in New Zealand this month.
Robinson stated that 2-1 defeat was "not acceptable", but Foster has kept his job and vowed to fight on as his side prepare to start the Rugby Championship with two away fixtures against the Springboks.
Yet CEO Robinson did not provide unequivocal backing for Foster when he was interviewed by Newstalk ZB at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
He said when asked about Foster's future: "He's certainly the person to lead the team to South Africa, and we're making sure they've got everything possible in the way of resourcing and support to make sure that's successful."
Former All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen this week slammed NZ Rugby, claiming the relationship between All Blacks players and the board is "probably the worst it's ever been".
Hansen lashed out over the treatment of Foster and former Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore, who resigned in April, making it clear that he was not impressed with the governing bodies conducting reviews over their futures.
The outspoken Hansen also highlighted the decision to bring in investment from US private equity firm Silver Lake as he accused the governing body of not "doing their job right".
Robinson has attempted to set the record straight.
He said: "One thing that seems to be coming through in some media is constant referral to reviews... that's simply not the case.
"But something that is very regular in all our environments is there are constant conversations about how we improve, and that’s a big part of the All Blacks as well."
He added with regards to Hansen's criticism: "I know he’s incredibly protective of Ian, and he's looking out for his mate, and I think we all understand that, too. Certainly we'll have a chat when the time is right.
"Regarding the players, we're working hard and well in that space around things in general, but also with regard to a new partner coming on with Silver Lake."
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has been talked up as a potential replacement for Foster, but Robinson refused to be drawn on speculation.
He said: "I understand the sentiment of our fans. That's been coming through loud and clear. We know Razor [Robertson] has a huge amount to offer the game in New Zealand... but to comment any further wouldn't be appropriate."